Students pursuing the PhD must complete a minimum of 72 credits, including the following:
- 24 course credits (8 courses) in major area
- 15 additional course or special investigation credits in major area
- 9 course credits (three courses) in minor area
- 18 credits of dissertation research
The total number of credits above these minimum requirements will depend on the student’s background, academic achievement, and dissertation topic. This decision will be made in consultation with the major advisor.
Students must complete the following required courses (or equivalent*) as part of their Major Concentration Coursework:
* Courses can be accepted as “equivalent” with prior approval by both the student’s academic advisor and the academic coordinator.
In addition to the 3 required courses, each student must complete 3 courses toward the Minor Concentration and 5 more elective courses towards the Major Concentration for a total of 11 Lecture Courses, i.e., a minimum of 33 credits of post-baccalaureate coursework taken at Pitt (2XXX level or higher) or transferred in from post-baccalaureate study. The coursework should be comprised of didactic (“book”) courses and not include seminar or research courses.
- Up to 30 credits may be applied to the Major Concentration and/or Minor Concentration from previously completed post-baccalaureate study.
- A minor area of concentration can be within any approved coherent area of science or engineering at the University of Pittsburgh outside of CEE.
- Doctoral Research (CEE 3997 - RESEARCH, PH.D ) may only be taken following successful completion of the PhD Preliminary Exam.
- At least 12 credits of the Dissertation credit may be taken as Doctor Dissertation (CEE 3999 - PH.D. DISSERTATION ) which may only be taken following successful completion of the PhD Dissertation Proposal Exam. Remaining Dissertation credit may be taken as Doctor Research CEE 3997 - RESEARCH, PH.D or Doctoral Dissertation.
- All students must enroll in the departmental seminar (CEE 2085 - GRADUATE DEPARTMENTAL SEMINAR ) every semester of full-time residency (i.e., full-time study in the PhD program).
Plan of Study
The PhD Plan of Study is prepared by the student with the aid of the student’s faculty advisor during the student’s first two terms of graduate study. It should be approved and signed by the faculty advisor, all other faculty members in the program area, the graduate coordinator, and the department chair. Copies should be made available to the student, the faculty advisor, and the academic coordinator. Any change in the Plan of Study must be approved by the faculty advisor and the academic coordinator, and should likewise be recorded.
PhD Examination Structure
All PhD candidates must pass the preliminary, comprehensive, and final oral examinations:
The purpose of this examination is to determine the student’s potential to complete the PhD program. It is organized by the advisor and faculty from the student’s program area, before or sometime during the first two terms of the program.
All PhD students must take this examination toward the end of their course work. Students must submit a written proposal of their expected dissertation research and pass a presentation and comprehensive oral examination administered by the student’s doctoral committee. The comprehensive examination committee will consist of the major advisor as chair, at least two faculty members from the student’s program area within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and at least one faculty member from outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The written proposal is recommended to be in the format of a standard federal research proposal (e.g., National Science Foundation) in terms of length, formatting, and technical content. A student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher to be allowed to participate in the examination. The examination can be administered no sooner than 1 term (i.e., 4 months) following completion of the Preliminary Exam and no later than 2 terms (i.e., 8 months) prior to the Dissertation Defense.
Final Oral Examination
This is an oral defense of the student’s PhD dissertation. The examination will be administered by the doctoral committee. The doctoral committee will consist of the major advisor as chair, at least two faculty members from the student’s program area within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and at least one faculty member from outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.